Why 3× longer manufacturing with non-OPL parts?

Quote from the knowledge base article Fusion PCBA Specification: “The lead time for PCB Assembly orders is around 7-15 business days if all the parts are from the Seeed’s OPL and around 20-25 business days if not.”

Furthermore, in the flow-chart “components purchasing” is estimated at 15-20 business days:

[attachment=0]PCBA Specification.png[/attachment]

Wow, that’s long! If I order parts via Digi-Key from the US to Germany where I live, then I reliably have them in less than 48 hours. In Shenzhen, I assume that there are plenty of vendors that can get standard parts to the Seeed Studio assembly line the same day.

Can someone explain why making boards is estimated to take about three times as long when non-OPL parts are used? Is there time needed to program machines for non-OPL parts? Does Seeed want to promote OPL parts?

In my case, I need a PCBA in less than four weeks, though fortunately delivered to Hong Kong. I can compromise on all the parts and change the board design in sometimes ugly ways in order to accomodate for OPL parts. However, there is one component where I just cannot find an alternative in the OPL: an ADXL335/337 accelerometer (analog readout, ≤±3G)
PCBA Specification.png

Hi Felix,

Thanks for bringing up this hot topic, we get this question asked quite often and by having it here we hope people needing to know can find the answer conveniently.

Seeed OPL parts are local parts in our warehouse, we already have them in-stock and they practically next door to the assembly line. For good measure I’ll also mention that, Shenzhen OPL parts also “local” but not stored in Seeed’s premises. Either way, both sources can easily supply parts in a short amount of time.

Non-OPL parts can range from anything from parts on DigiKey to parts from an obscure link or direct from the original manufacturer. Initial sourcing and then order processing may take time, and then, being in China, often we also need to have them imported and that means processed by customs. This process takes a long time and there isn’t a lot we can do about it. And then once the parts come in, they have to go through quality inspection since we cannot guarantee the source, especially if they are not from a reputable supplier. With OPL parts, they are either standardized or have already have been through quality inspection.

So rather, it is not 3x longer manufacturing but 3x longer sourcing. So we strongly recommend taking advantage of local parts whenever possible!

Hope that clears it up!